Rare red panda cubs born at Chester Zoo - and they're twins

Video: Two rare red panda cubs get their first health check at Chester Zoo

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The Independent Online

Chester Zoo have revealed their newest members: two rare red panda twins.

The red panda cubs received their first health check this week despite being nearly two months old.

The twins were born on June 27 but Chester Zoo's keepers were not aware of the cubs until recently. They were only alerted to the new arrivals after they heard little squeaks coming from the red panda nest box.

The twins, a boy and a girl, were born to first-time mother Nima and father Jung.

Keeper Maxine Bradley said: “Our two cubs are in very good shape. They’re big and strong with very thick fur - our male weighed in at just under 1kg and our female 842g.

"We’re really pleased with how well they’re doing and, as soon as we had given them a health check, we popped them back into their nest. It’ll be several weeks until they start to emerge and explore.”

Red pandas are native to the Himalayas and conservation experts list them as endangered due to poaching and a shrinking habitat.

Chester Zoo has been incredibly successful at breeding red pandas and also supports the Sichuan Forest Biodiversity Project in the Sichuan Mountains of China, which helps safeguard the future of the species in its homeland.